Can I legally use images off the internet in my social media feeds?

I get this question a lot and the answer is always “it depends.”

The best way to share any content, no matter what media type, is to keep the original source link with the content.

It’s all about promoting someone else’s content and showing yourself or your brand as an expert curator on a topic, rather than claiming that content as your own. The benefit is two-fold: you save time by using images that already exist, and you demonstrate that you have your finger on the pulse in your arena.

Here are 3 ways to legally share content for your brand:

1. Share other people’s videos/images

For example, below is a YouTube playlist we created to showcase content marketing we think is clever. The videos are streaming from their original channels, but through a playlist we created on our channel and have embedded here:

You can do this with images as well, using the “Insert from URL” option in the “Add Media” dialogue box. Make the image a link to the article where you found the image, and add a caption stating the name of the article.

2. Use creative commons videos/images at http://search.creativecommons.org/

With most of the CC licenses you need to credit the owner, so you may need to provide a caption with the artist’s name and potentially link to their site.

Be sure to look for the license and then click through to see what’s involved in using the image. In the example below, the license says “Some rights reserved.”

Screenshot of CC license

When I clicked on “Some rights reserved,”

I received instructions on how I could use that image: 

Sample of Creative Commons License Details   

And this is how I used it:

Sample of how to credit Creative Commons Licenses

3. Purchase stock videos/images

There will be some cases where you might want to create your own graphics. If you don’t have original photography or illustrations to use, you can purchase stock images that include a license to share the content. Some popular stock image sites are:

If you’re looking to increase your social media engagement, adding visuals is a sure-fire way to up your post appeal. But creating infographics, memes, diagrams, and images takes time, so follow these simple tricks to share click-worthy content for your brand.

This post is adapted from “The Best Ways to Share Content for Your Brand,” on the Antenna Social Media & Design Blog.

Christina Adams

Christina Adams is Owner & Strategist at Antenna Social Media & Design. She brings over a decade of experience working with digital media. She created the education website vancouver2010.com/EDU for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, visited by millions and lauded by top Canadian educators. While working towards a Master’s degree in Gender Studies, Christina also completed a Graduate Program in Teaching Certificate. She has taught at the post-secondary level at: The Art Institute of Vancouver, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design.”

See all posts by Christina

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